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BORIS SIDIS, M.A.. ph.D..M.a 




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I ADDEE8S myself to you, fathers aad 
mothers, and to you, open-minded read- 
ers. I take it for granted that your life- 
work is with you a serious matter and that 
you put forth all your efforts to do your 
best in the walk of life which you have 
chosen. I assume that you want to de- 
velop your ener^es to the highest effi- 
ciency and bring out the best there is in 
you. I assume that you earnestly wish and 
strive to bring out and develop to the high- 
est efficiency the faculties not only of your 
. children, but also those of your friends 
^ and co-workers with whom you associate 

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i ' " PHrt-isrmE and" genius 

in your daily vocation, and that you are 
deeply interested in the education of your 
countrymen and their diildren, who share 
with you the duties, rights and privileges 
of citizenship. I also assume that as men 
and women of liberal education you are 
not limited to the narrow interests of one 

\ particular subject, to the exclusion of all 
else. I a^ume that you are especially 
interested in the development of person- 

^ ality as a whole, the true aim of education. 
I also assume that you realize that what 
is requisite is not some more routine, not 
more desiccated, quasi'sdentific methods 
of educational psychology, not the saw- 
dust of college-pseudagogics and philis- 
tine, normal school-training, but more 
light on the problems of life. CWhat you 
want is not the training of philistines, but 
the education of genius. 
We need more light, more information 



on "the problems of life." Is it hot 
too big a phrase to employ? On a seomd 
thought, however, I must say that your 
problems are the problems of life. For 
the problems of education are funda- 
mental, they are at the bottom of all vital 
problems. The ancient Greeks were 
aware of it and paid special attention to 
education. In rearing his revolutionary, 
Utopian edifice, Plato insists on education 
as the foundation of a new social, moral 
and intellectual life. Plato in his Repub- 
lic makes Socrates tell his interlocutor, 
Adeimantus: "Then you are aware that 
in every work the begimting is the most 
important part, especially in dealing with 
anything iyoung and tender? For that is 
the time when any impresaon which one 
may desire to communicate is most readilj; 
stamped and taken." 

We may tsay that all man's struggles. 

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religious, moral and economical, all the 
combats and conflicts that fill the history 
of mankind, can be traced finally to the 
nature and vigor of the desires, beliefs 
and strivings which have been cultivated 
by the social environment in the early life 
of the individual. The character of a na- 
tion is moulded fay the nature of its edu- 
cation. The character of society depends 
on the early training of its constituent 
units. The fatalism, the submissiveness 
of the Oriental; the sstheticism, the in- 
dependence, love of innovations and in- 
quisitiveness of the ancient Greek; the 
ruggedness, sturdiness, harshness and 
conservatism of the ancient Roman; the 
emotionalism, the reli^ous fervor of the 
ancient Hebrew; the commercialism, rest- 
\ lessness, speculation and scientific spirit 
^ of modem times, are all the results of the 
nature of the early education the individ- 



ual gets in his respective social environ- 
ment. We may say that the education 
of early life forms the very fowidatioD 
of the social structure. 

liike day in the hands of the potter, 
so is man in the hands of his community. 
Society fashions the beliefs, the desires, 
the aims, the sh-ivings, the knowledge, 
the ideals, the character, the minds, the 
very selves of its constituent units. Who 
has tlie control of this vital function of 
moulding minds? Fathers and mothers, 
tile child is under your control. To your 
hands, to your care is entrusted the fate 
of young generations, the fate of the fu- 
ture community, which, consciously or 
unconsciously, you fashion according to 
the accepted standards and traditions with 
which you have been imbued in your own 

It is related, I think, in Plutarch's 

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Lives, of Themistocles telling with the 
ironical frankness characteristic of the 
Greek temperament that his son possessed 
the greatest power in Greece: "For the 
Athenians command the rest of Greece, I 
command the Athenians, his mother com- 
mands me, and he commands his mother." 
This hit of Greek irony is not without its 
significance. The mind of the growing 
generation controls the fuhire of nations. 
The boy is father to the man, as the 
proverb has it; he controls the future. 
But who controls the boy? The home, 
the mother and father, the guides of the 
child's early life. For it is in early life 
that the foundation of oiur mental edifice 
is laid. All that is good, valid and solid 
in man's mental structure depends on the 
breadth, width, depth, and solidity of that 



That the groundwork of man's character 
is laid in his childhood appears as a triv- 
ial platitude. I am almost ashamed to 
bring it before you. And yet, as I look 
round me and find how apt we are to for- 
get tbis simple precept which is so funda- 
mental in our life, I cannot help calling 
your attention to it. If we consider the 
matter, we can well understand the reason 
why its full significance is not realized. 
We must remember that all science begins 
with axioms which are apparently truisms. 

V What is more of a truism than the axioms 
of Geometry and Mechanics — that the 

V whole is greater than the part, that things 
which are equal to the same thing are 

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equal to one anotlier, or that a body re- 
mains in the same state unless an exter- 
nal force changes it? And yet the whole 
of Mathematics and Mechanics is built on 
those simple axioms. 

The elements of science are just such 
obvious platitudes. What is needed is to 
use them as efficient tools and by their 
means draw the consequent effects. The 
same holds true in the science of educa- 
tion. The axiom or the law of early 
training is not new, it is well known, but 
it is unfortunately too often neglected 
and forgotten, and its significance is al- 
most completely lost. 

It is certainly surprising how this law 
of early training is so disregarded, so to- 
tally ignored in the education of the child. 
Not only do we neglect to lay the neces- 
sary solid basis in the early life of the 
child, a solid basis ready for the future 



structure, we do not even take care to 
dear the ground. In fact, we even make 

. the child's soul a dunghill, full of vermin 
of superstitions, feras and prejudices, — ■ 
a hideous heap saturated with the spirit of 

We regard the child's mind as a <o6tt/a 
raga, a vacant lot, and empty on It all our 
rubbish and refuse. We labor under the 
delusion that stories and fairy tales, myths 
and deceptions about life and man are 
good for the child's mind. Is it a won- 

- der that on such a foundation men can 
only put up shacks and shanties? We 
forget the simple fact that what is harm- 
ful for the adult is still more harmful to 
the child. Surely what is poisonous to 

V the grown-up mind cannot be useful food 
to the young. If credulity in old wives* 
t^es, lack of individuality, sheepish sub- 
missiveness, barrack-discipline, unques- 

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tioned and uncritical belief in authority, 
meaningless imitation of jingles and gib- 
berish, memorization of mother-goose ms- 
dom, repetition of incompreh' nsible pray- 
' ers and articles of creed, i '"tellir *Tit 
aping of good manners, silly games, pr .ju- 
dices and superstitions and fears of the 
supernormal and supernatural, are cen- 
sured in adults, why Should we approve 
their cultivation in the yoimg? 

At home and at school we drill into the 
child's mind uncritical beliefs in stories and 
tales, fictions and figments, fables and 
myths, creeds and dogmas which poison 
the very sources of the child's mind. At 
home and at school we give the child over 
as a prey to all sorts of fatal germs of men- 
tal diseases and moral depravity. We 
leave the child's mind an open field to 
be sown with dragon's teeth which bring 
forth a whole crop of pernicious- tenden- 



cies, — love and admiration of successful 
\ evil, and adoration of the rule of brute 
force. From the dragon's teeth sown in 
early childhood there rises in later life a 
whole brood of flint-hearted men who 
blindly jostle and fight and mercilessly 
tear one another, to obtain for some greedy 
Jason, some witch of a Medea their cov- 
eted golden fleece. 

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We regard with disapproval the bloody 
combats of some savage tribe; we regard 
with horror the sacrifice of childroi and 
prisoners to isome idol of a Phenician Mo- 
loch or Mexican HuitzUo-Fotchli; we are 
shocked at the criminal proceedings of the 
infamous Torquemada with his inquisi- 
tion glorying in its terrors and tortures 
in the name of Christ; we are sickened as 
we read of the religious wars in Europe ; 
we shudder at the horrors of the night 
of St. Bartholomew, we are appalled by 
the recent slaughters of the Jews in Rus- 
sia, by the wholesale massacre of the 
Christians in Turkey. 

AH such atrocities, we say, belong to 



barbaric ages and are only committed in 
semi-civilized countries. We flatter our- 
selves that we are difl^erent in this age of 
■ enlightenment and civilization. Are we 
different ? Have we changed ? Have 
we a right to fling stones at our older 
brothers, the savage and the barb^an? 
We are so used to our life that we do not 
notice its evils and misery. We can easily 
see the mote in the eye of our neighbor, 
but do not notice the beam in our own. 

We are still savage at heart. Our civi- 
lization is mere gloss, a thin coating 
of paint and varnish. Owe methods of 
inflicting pain are more refined than those 
of the Indian, but no less cruel, while the 
number of the victims sacrificed to our 
greed and rapacity may even exceed the 
numbers fallen by the sword of the barbar- 
ian or by the torch of the fanatic. The 
slums in our cities are foul and filthy. 

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teeming with deadly genns of disease 
where the mortality of our infants and 
diildren in some cases rises to the frightful 
figure of 204 per thousand! 

The sanitary conditions of our cities 
are filthy and deadly. They carry in 
their wake all forms of plagues, pests 
and diseases, among which tuberculosis is 
60 well known to the laity. ."Tubercu- 
losis," reads a report of a Tenement 
Hotue Commission, "is one of the results 
of our inhumane tenements; it follows in 
the train of our inhumane sweatshops. 
It comes where the hours of labor are 
long and the wages are small; it afflicts 
the children who are sent to labor when 
they should yet be in school." 

"The Consumers* League," says Mr. 
John Graham Brooks, "long hesitated to 
lay stress upon these aspects of filth and 
disease, because of their alarmist and sen- 



sational nature, and of the immediate and 
grave risk to the consumer of the goods 
V manufactured in the sweatshop and the 
tenement house. If the sweatshop spread 
diphtheria and scarlet fever, there is the 
hue and cry hef ore personal danger. But 
these diseases are the very slightest ele- 
ments of the real risk to the general good. 
It is the spoiled human life, with its 
deadly legacy of enfeebled mind and 
body, tiiat reacts directly and indirectly 
on the tocial whole." We do not realize 
tiiat we drift into nationid degeneracy. 
We fail to realize that we raise a genera- 
tiom of stunted lives, of ph3rsical and. 
- y nervous wrecks, of mental invalids and 
moral cripples. 

We boast of our wealth unrivalled by 
other countries and by former ages. We 
should remember the great poverty of oxa 
masses, the filthy conditions of our wealthy 

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cities, with their loathsome city-slums, in 
which human beings live, breed and teem 
like so many worms. 

/ We spend on barracks and prisons 
/more thui we do on schools and colleges. 
/ What is the level of a civilization in 
j which the cost of crime and war far ex- 
I ceeds that of the education of its future 
\ citizens? We spend on our army and 
navy a quarter of a billion dollars, which 
is found to be insufficient, while the "total 
money burden of crime amotmts in this 
country to the enormous sum of 600 mil- 
lion dollars a year!" 

The cost of crime alone is so enormous 
that a representative of the Board of 
Charities of one of our Eastern states 
considers "the entire abohtion of all the 
penal codes and the complete liberty of 
the criminal class." Our civilization can 
boast of the city-slum, the abode of mis- 



ery and crime, the gift of our modem in- 
dustrial progress, wealth and prosperity. 
Professor James uid myself were over 
once on a visit to a chuitable institution 
for mentally defective. With his clear 
eye for the incongruities and absurdities 
of life. Professor James remarked to me 
• that idiots and imbeciles were given the 
comforts, in fact, the luxuries of life, while 
healthy children, able boys and girls, had 
to struggle for a livelihood. Children 
under fourteen work in factories, work at 
a wage of about twenty-five cents a day, 
and, according to the labor bureau, the 
daily wage of the factory children of the 
South is often as low as fifteen cents and 
sometimes falls to nine cents. In many 
of our colleges many a student has to live 
on the verge of starvation, freeze in a 
summer overcoat the whole winter and 
warm his room by burning newspapers in 

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the grate. We are charitable and help 
OUT mediocrities, imbeciles and idiots, 
while we neglect our talent and genius. 
We have a blind faith that genius, like 
murder, will out. We know of success- 
ful talent, but we do not know of the 
great amount of unsuccessful talent and 
' genius that has gone to waste. We favor 
imbecility .And-fi^ght genius. 

One of the physicians of the institution 
overheard our conversation and attempted 
to justify his work by an argument com- 
monly advanced and uncritically &o- 
cepted — "Our civilization, our Christian 
dviltzation vdues human life." Does 
our civilization really value human life? 
The infant mortality of the slums of our 
large dties and the factory work of our 
young children do not seem to justifjr 
such a claim. 

The loss of life on our railways is as 



large as one caused by a nation^ war. 
Thus the number of persons killed on 
American railways during a period of 
three years ending June 80, 1900, was 
about 22,000, while the mortality of 
British forces, including death from dis- 
ease, during three years of the South Af- 
rican war amounted to 22,000. In 1901, 
one out of every 400 railway employees 
was killed and one out of every 26 was 
injured. In 1902, 2,969 employees were 
killed and 50,524 were injured. 

Commenting on the statistics of rail- 
way accidents, Mr. John Graham Brooks 
says: "One has to read and re-read 
these figures before their grewsome stg< 
nificance is in the least clear. If we 
add the mining, iron and lumbering in- 
dustries, — portions of which are more dan- 
gerous than the railroad, — some concept 
tion is possible of the mutilated life due 
to machinery as it is now run." It may 

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also be of interest to learn that, according 
to the calculation made by a representa- 
tive of one of the insurance companira, 
more than a million and a half are annu- 
ally killed and injured in the United 
States alone. 

The waste of htmian life is in fact 
greater than in any previous age. "Saul 
hath slain his thousands, but David his 
ten thousands." Think of our modern 
warfare, with its infernal machines of 
carnage, mowing down more men in a day 
than the warlike Assyrians and Bomans, 
with their crude bows, arrows and cata- 
pults, could destroy in a century. And 
is not our country, our civilized Christian 
society, with its high valuation of human 
life, keeping on increasing its army and 
navy, and perfecting deadly weapons of 
slaughter and carnage? What about the 
justice dealt out by Judge Lynch? From 



1882 to 1900 there were about three thou- 
sand lynchingsl What about our grand 
imperial policy? What about our dom- 
inance over weak and ignorant tribes, 
treated in no gentle way by the armed 
fist of their civilized masters, who send 
to the benighted heathens their mission- 
aries to preach religion and their soldiers 
to enforce the sale of narcotics and other 
civilizing goods? 

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We are stock-blind to our own barbar- 
ities; we do not realize the enormities of 
our life and consider oiur age and country 
as civilized and enlightened. We censure 
the faults of other Sodeties, but do not 
notice our own. Thus Lecky, in describ- 
ing Roman society, says: "The gladia- 
torial games form indeed the one feature 
which to a modem mind is almost in- 
conceivable in its atrocity. That not only 
men, but women, in an advanced period of 
civilization, — men and women who not 
only professed, but very frequently acted 
upon a high code of morals — should have 
made the carnage of men their habitual 
amusement, that all this should have con- 



tinued for centuries with scarcely a pro- 
test, is one of the most startling facts in 
moral history. It is, however, perfectly 
normal, while it opens out fields of eth- 
ical inquiry of a very deep, though pun- 
ful, character." 

As in modem times, our college author- 
ities justify the brutalities of football 
and prize-fights, so in ancient times the 
great moralists of 'those ages justified 
their gladiatorial games. Thus the great 
orator, the moralizing philosopher, Cicero, 
in speaking of the gladiatorial games, 
tells us: "When guilty men are com- 
pelled to fight, no better discipline against 
suffering and death can be prraented to 
the eye." And it is certiunly instructive 
for us to leam that "the very men who 
looked down with delight, when the sand 
of the arena reddened with hiunan blood, 
made the theater ring with applause when 

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Terence in his famous line proclaimed the 
brotherhood of men." 
i One feeble protest is on record, a protest 
coming from the mother of civilization, 
from ancient Athens. "When an attempt 
was made to introduce the games into 
Athens, the philosopher Demonax ap- 
pealed successfxilly to the better feelings 
of the people by exclaiming : "You must 
first overthrow the altar of pityl" 

The philosopher Demonax had not the 
compromising spirit of the modem pro- 
fessor. Although the brutal games of 
our youth and populace need a Demonax, 
we certainly should not look for one in our 
colleges and imiversities. Our college au- 
tiiorities assure us that athletic prestige is 
indispensable to a good university. In 
fact, according to some official statements, 
football teams are supposed to express the 
superior intellectual activities of our fore- 



most colleges. Like Cicero of old, we 
claim that "our games are goodi — they 
trun men, and no better discipline can be 
presented to the eye." 

The fact is, man is bat-blind to the evils 
of the environment in which he is bred. 
He takes those evils as a matter of course, 
and even finds good reasons to justify 

^ them as edifying and elevating. In re- 
lation to his own surroundings, man is in 
the primitive condition of the Biblical 

i Adun, — he is not conscious of his own 
moral nakedness. Six days in the week 
we witne^ and uphold the wholesale car- 
nage, national and international, political, 
economical, in shops, factories, mines, 
railroads and on the battlefields, while on 
the seventh we sing hymns to the God of 
mercy, love and peace. 

We pick up the first newspapers or 
popular magazines that come to our hand. 

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and we read of wars, slaughters* murders, 
lynchings, crimes and outrages on life and 
liberty; we read of strikes, lockouts, of 
tales of starvation and of frightful infant 
mortality; we read of diseases and epi- 
demics ravaging the homes of our working 
population; we read of corporation in- 
iquities, of frauds and corruption of our 
legislative bodies, of the control of politics 
by the criminal classes of the great me- 
tropolis of our land. We read of all that 
evil and corruption, but forget them next 

Our social life is corrupt, our body pol- 
itic is eaten through with cankers and 
sores, "the whole head is sick and the 
whole heart is faint. From the sole of 
the foot even unto the head, there is no 
soundness in It; but woimds, imd bruises 
and putrefying sores," and yet we tliink 
we are a civilized people, supenor to all 



countries and to all ages. "The voice of 
our brother's blood crieth unto us from 
the ground." How can we be so callous? 
How can we be so moIe-bUnd and so stone- 

The truth is, we hare but a thin Tarnish 
of faiunaneness, glossing over a rude bar- 
barism. With our lips we praise the God 
of lore, but in our hearts we adore the 
God of force. How much physical force 
is worshipped we can realize from the 
crowds that throng the games of base- 
ball, football, prize-fights and boxing ex- 
hibitions. They go into tens of thou- 
sands. How many would be drawn by a 
St. Paul, an Epictetus, or a Socrates? 

The newspaper, the mirror of our social 
life, is filled with the names and exploits 
of our magnates of high finance, our 
money-mongers and usurers. Our jour- 
nals teem with deeds and scandals of our 
refined * Wart set'* set up as patterns, as 

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ideals, after which our middle class so 
longingly craves. Like the Israelites of 
old we worship golden calves and sa- 
cred bulls. Our daughters yearn after 
the barbaric shimmer and glitter of the 
bejewelled, bespangled, empty-minded, 
parasitic females of "the smart set." Our 
college boys admire the feats of the 
trained athlete and scorn the work of the 
"grind." Our very schoolboys crave for 
the fame of a Jeffries and a Johnson. If 
in the depths of space there is some solar 
system inhabited by really rational beings, 
and if one of sudi bein^ should by some 
miracle happen to visit our planet, he 
would no doubt turn away in horror. 


We press our children into the trium- 
phant march of oiir industrial Jugger- 
naut. Over 1,700,000 diildren under 15 
\ years of age toil in fields, factories, mines 
and workshops. The slums and the fac- 
tory cripple the energies of our young 
generation. The slaughter of the inno- 
cents and the sacrifice of our children to 
the insatiable Moloch of industry exclude 
us from the rank of civilized society and 
place us on the level of barbaric nations. 
I Our educators are narrow-minded ped- 
l ants. They are occupied with the dry 
\ bones of text-books, the sawdust of peda- 
$^gics and the would-be scientific ex- 
periments of educational psychology; they 

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we ignOTfUit of the real vital proUems of 
humsD interesta* a knowledge of which 
goes to make the truly educated man. 

Ahout the middle of the nineteenth 
century. Buckle made the prediction that 
no wiv was any more to occur among civi- 
lized nations. Henceforth peace was to 
reign supreme. "The wolf shall dwell 
with the Iamb, and the leopard shall lie 
down with the kid; their young ones shall 
lie down together, and the lion shall eat 
straw like the ox. . . . Nations sBall 
beat their swords into ploughshares 
and their spears into pruning hooka. Na- 
tion shall not lift up sword against nation, 
nor shall they learn war any more." This 
prophecy was rather hasty. We have had 
since the Civil war, the Franco-Prussian 
war, the Spanish- American war, the Boer 
war, the Russo-Japanese war, not count- 
ing the ceaseless wars of extermination 



carried on by civilized nations among 
the various semi-civilized nations and 
primitive tribes. Civilized nations do not 
as yet beat their swords into ploughshares, 
but keep on increasing the strength of 
their "armed peace," and are ready to fight 
bloody battles in the quest of new lands and 
the conquest of new markets. 

In spite of The Hague conference of 
peace convoked by the peace-loving Czar, . 
no other age has had such large standing 
armies provided with such costly and ef- 
ficient weapons of execution ready for in- 
stant use. The red spectre still stalks 
abroad claiming its victims. We still be- 
lieve in the baptism of fire and redemp- 
tion by blood. The dogma of blood-re- 
demption is still at the basis of our faith 
and, consdously or unconsciously, we 
brand that sacred creed on the minds of 
the young generation. 

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We are not educated to see and under- 
stand the wretchedness, the misery of our 
life, — ^the evil of the world falls on the 
blind spot of our eye. In the name of 
evolution and the survival of the fittest, 
we justify the grasping arm of the strong, 
and even glory in the extermination of 
the weak. The weak, we say, must be 
weeded out by the processes of natural 
selection. The strong are the best; it is 
right that they should survive and flourish 
like a green bay tree. The fact is that we 
are still dominated by the law of the 
jungle, the den and the cave. We are 
still wild at heart. We still barken to the 
call of the wild; we are ruled by the fist, 
the claw and the tooth. 

Love, justice, gentleness, peace, reason, 
sympathy and pity, all humane feelings 
and promptings are with us sentiments of 
"unnatural" or supernatural religion 



iirhich we profess in our diurches, but in 
which we really have no faith as good for 
actual life. We mistake bnitiahness for 
courage, and by fight and by war we trun 
the beast in man. 

All humane feelings are regarded as so 
many hindrances to progress; they favor, 
we claim, the survival of the weak. We 
are, of course, evolutionists, and believe 
most firmly in progress. We believe that 
, the luxuries and vices of the strong are 
conducive to prosperity, and that the evils 
of life by the automatic grinding of that 
grind-organ known as the process of evo- 
lution 9(m.ebxm lead to a higher civiliza- 

When in the beginning of the eighteenth 
century Bernard de Mandeville pro- 
claimed the apparently paradoxical prin- 
ciple that Private Vices are Public Bene- 
fits, the academic moralists were shocked 

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at such profane brutality. Mandeville 
only proclaimed the leading, the guiding 
principle of the coming age of industrial 
prosperity. We now know better. Are 
we not evolutionists? Have we not 
learned that progress and evolution and 
the impitovement of the race are brought 
about by the fierce struggle for existence^ 
by the process of natural selection, by the 
merciless elimination of the weak and by 
the triumph of the strong and the fit? 
What is the use of being sentimental? 
Like Brennus, the Gaul, we tlirow our 
sword on the scales of blinded justice and 
shout triumphantly "Vm victis!" 



We are confirmed optimists and sow op- 
timism broadcast. We hare optimistic 
clubs and mental scientists and Christian 
scientists, — all afflicted with incurable 
ophthalmia to surrounding evil and mis- 
ery. We are scientific, we are evolution- 
ists, we have faith in the sort of optimism 
taught by Leibnitz in his famous Theo- 
dicea. We are the Candides of our or- 
ades, the Panglosses. You may possibly 
remember what Voltaire writes of Pro- 
fessor Fangloss. "Pangloss used to 
teach the science of metaphysico-theolo- 
go-cbsmologo-noodleology. He demon- 
strated to admiration that there is no effect 
without a cause and that this is the best of 

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all possible worlds. It has been proved, 
said Pangloss, that things cannot be other- 
wise than they are; for everything, the 
end for which everything is made, is nec- 
essarily the best end. Observe how noses 
are made to carry spectacles, and specta- 
cles we have accordingly. Everything 
that is, is the best that could possibly be." 
It is such shallow optimism that now gains 

Verily, we are aflBicted with mental 
cataract. "If we should bring clearly 
to a man's sight," says Schopenhauer, 
"the terrible sufferings and miseries to 
which his life is constantly exposed, he 
would be seized with horror, and if we 
were to conduct the confirmed optimist 
through the hospitals, infirmaries, and 
surgical operating-rooms, through pris- 
ons, asylums, torture-chambers and slave- 
kennels, over battlefields and places of 
execution; if we were to open to him all 



the dark abodes of misery, where it hides 
itself from the glance of cold curiosity, he 
would understand at last the nature of 
this best of possible toorlds." 

Schopenhauer is metaphysical* pessi< 
mistic, but he is certainly not blinded by 
a shallow optimism to the realities of life. 
Drunk with the spirit of optimism, we 
do not realize the degradation, the misery 
and poverty of our life. Meanwhile the 
human genius, the genius which all of us 
possess, languishes, famishes, and perishes, 
while the brute alone emerges in triumph. 
We are so overcome by the faith in the 
transcendent, optimistic eTolution of the 
good, that through the misty, heavenly, 
angelic visions, we do not discern the 
cloven hoof of the devil. 

Professor James in a recent address 
told the Radcliffe graduates that the aim 
of a college-education is "to recognize the 
good man" when you see him. This ad- 

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vice may be good for Radcliffe young 
ladies; but, fathers and mothers, the true 
education of life it the recogmtion of evU 
wherever it u met. 
^ The Bible begins the story of maa in a 
paradise of ignorance and finishes it with 
his tasting of the fruits of the forbidden 
tree of knowledge of good and eriL 
"And the eyes of them both were opoied 
and they knew that they were naked. 
And the Lord God said, — Behold, the 
man is become as one of us to know good 
and evil, and now, lest he put forth his 
hand and take also of the tree of life and 
eat and live for ever. Therefore, the 
Lord God sent him forth from the garden 
of Eden. So he drove out the man." 
We prefer the sinful, mortal, but godlike 
man with bis knowledge of evil to the 
brutish philtstine in the bliss of Elysium. 



In the education of the young genera- 
tion the purpose of the nation is to bring 
up the child as a good man, as a liberal- 
minded citizen, devoted Isoul and body to 
the interests of social welfare. This pur- 
pose in the education of the young citizen 
is of the utmost importance in every so- 
ciety, but it is a vital need in a democratic 
society. We do not want narrow-minded 
patriots devoted to party-factions, nor big- 
oted sectarians, nor greedy entrepreneurs 
fastening in trusts, like so many barnacles, 
on the body-politic. We do not want 
ringleaders and mobs, unscrupulous bosses 
and easily led voters. What we need is 
men having at heart the welfare of their 



The purpose of the education provided 
by the nation for its young generation is 
the rearing of healthy, talented, broad- 
minded citizens. We need, above all, 
good citizens, active and intelligent, with 
a knowledge of life and with a delicate 
sense of discrimination and detection of 
evil in all its protean forms; we need 
strong-minded citizens with grit and 
courage to resist oppression and root out 
evil wherever it is found. A strong sense 
of recognition of evil should be the social 
sense of every well-educated citizen as a 
safeguard of social and national life. 
The principle of recognition of etnl under 
' all iU gidsea is at ike ham of ike true edu- 
cation of man. 

Is it not strange that this vital prin- 
ciple of education, the recognition of evil, 
— a fundamental principle with the great 
thinkers of humanity, — should remain so 



sadly neglected by our educators and pub- 
lic instructors? Our educators are owl- 
wise, our teachers are pedants and all their 
s ambition is the turning out of smooth, 
well-polished philistines. It is a sad case 
of the blind leading the blind. 

It is certainly unfortunate that the fa- 
vored type of superintendent of our pub- 
lic education should be such a hopeless 
philistine, possessed of all the conceit of 
the mediocre business man. Routine is 
his ideal. Originality and genius are 
spumed and suppressed. Our school- 
superintendent with his well-organized 
training-shop Is proud of the fact that 
there is no place for genius in our schools. 

Unfortunate and degraded is the nation 
that has handed over its childhood and 
youth to guidance and control by hide- 
bound mediocrity. Our school-managers 
are respected by the laity as great educa- 

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tors and are looked up to by tbe teochen 
as able business men. Their merit is 
routine, discipline and the hiring of cheap 

It is certainly a great misfortune to the 
nation that a good nmuber of our would- 
be scientific pedagogues are sudi medioc- 
rities, with so absurd an exaggeration of 
their importance that they are well satis- 
fied if the mass of their pupils turn out 
exact reproductions of the silly pedit* 
gogue. What can be expected of a na- 
tion that entrusts the fate of its young 
generaUtti to the care or carelessness of 
young girls, to the ire of old maids, and 
to pettifogging officials with their educa- 
tional red tape, discipline and routine, — 
petty bureaucrats animated with a hatred 
towards talent and genius? 

The goody-goody schoplma'am, the 
mandarin-schoolmaster, the philistine- 



pedagogue, ihe pedant-administrator with 
his business capacities, have proved them- 
selves incompetent to deal with the edu- 
cation of the young. The y stifle talent, 
they stupefy the_intellect, they .pajcalyae 
the will, they suppress^genlus, they he- 
numb the faculties of our children. The 
educator, with his pseudo-scientific, 
pseudo-psychological pseudogogics, can 
only bring up a set of philislines with 
firm, set habits, — marionettes, — dolls. 

Business is put above learning, adn^- 
istration above education, discipline and 
order above cultivation of geniu^fl^d tal- 
ent. Our schools and colleges* ai% con- 
trolled by business men. TBe school- 
hoards, the boards of trustees of almost 
every school and college in the country 
consist mainly of manofaeturers, store- 
keepers, tradesmen, bulls and bears of 
Wall street and the market-place. What 

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wonder that they bring with them the 
ideals and methods of the factory, the 
store, the bank and the saloon. If the 
saloon controls politics, the shop controls 

Business men are no more competent to 
run schools and colleges than astronomers 
are fit to run hotels and theaters. Our 
whole educational system is vicious. A 
popular scientific journal entered a pro- 
test against the vulgarization of our col- 
leges, the department-store trade methods 
of our universities, but to no avail. The 
popular hero, the administrative btisiness 
superintendent still holds sway, and poi- 
sons the sources of our social life by de- 
basing the very foundation of our na- 
tional education. 



From time to time the "educational" 
methods of our philistine teachers are 
brought to light. A girl is forced by a 
schoohna'am of one of our large cities to 
stay in a comer for hours, because she 
unintentionally transgressed against the 
barrack-discipline of the school-regula- 
tions. When the parents became afraid 
of the girl's health and naturally took 
her out of school, the little girl was 
dragged before the court by the truant 
officer. Fortunately "the judge turned to 
the truant officer and asked him how the 
girl could be a truant, if she had been sus- 
pended. He didn't believe in breaking 
children's wills." 

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In another city a pupil of genius was 
excluded from school because "he did not 
fall in with the system" laid out by the 
"very able business-superintendent." A 
schoolmistress conceives the happy idea of 
converting two of her refractory pupils 
into pin-cushions for the edification of 
her class. An "educational" administra- 
tive superintendent of a large, prosperous 
commimity told a lady who brought to 
him her son, an extraordinarily able boy, 
"I shall not take your boy into my high- 
school, in spite of his knowledge." When 
the mother asked him to listen to her, he 
lost patience and told her with all the 
force of his school-authority, "Madam, 
put a rope around tus neck, weigh him 
well down with bricks 1" 

A principal of a high school in one of 
the prominent New England towns dis- 
misses a highly talented pupil because, to 



quote verbatim from the original school 
document, "He is not amenable to the dis- 
cipline of the school, as his school life has 
been too short to establish bjm in the habit 
of obedience." "His intellect," the prin- 
cipal's official letter goes on -to say, "re- 
mains a marvel to us, but we do not feel» 
and in this I think I speak for all, 
that he is in the right place." In other 
words, in the opinion of those remarkable 
pedagogues, educators and teachers, the 
school is not the right place for talent and 
genius I 

A superintendent of schools in lectur- 
ing before an audience of "subordinate 
teachers" told them emphatically that 
there was no place for genius in our 
schools. Dear old fogies, one can well 
understand your indignation 1 Here we 
have worked out some fine methods, clever 
rules, beautiful systems and then comes 



genius and upsets the whole structurel 
It is a shame 1 Genius cannot fit into the 
pigeon-holes of the office desk. Choke 
genius, and things will move smoothly in 
the school and the office. 

Not long ago we were informed hy one 
of those successful college-mandarins, 
lionized by office-clerks, superintendents 
and tradesmen, that he could measure ed- 
ucation by the foot-rule I Our Regents 
are supposed to raise the level of educa- 
tion by a vicious system of examination 
and coaching, a system which Professor 
James, in a private conversation with 
me, has aptly characterized as "idiotic." 

Our schools brand their pupils by a sys- 
tem of marks, while our foremost colleges 
measure the knowledge and education of 
their students by the number of "points" 
passed. The student may pass either in 
Logic or Blacksmithing. It does not 

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matter which, provided he makes up a cer- 
tain mimber of "points"! 

College-committees refuse admission 
to young students of genius, becaiwe "it 
is against the policy and the principles of 
the university." College-professors ex- 
pel promising students from the lectiu'e- 
room for "the good of the class as a 
whole," because the students "happen to 
handle their hats in the middle of a lec- 
ture." This, you see, interferes with 
class discipline. Fiat jtfstitia, pereat 
mundus. Let genius perish, provided the 
system lives. Why not suppress all ge- 
nius, as a disturbing element, for "the 
good of the classes," for the weal of the 
commonwealth? Education of man and 
cultivation of genius, indeed I This is not 
school policy. 

We school and drill our children and 
youth in schoolma'am mannerism, sehool- 

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master mind-ankylosis, school-superin- 
tendent stiff- joint ceranonialism, factory 
regulations and office-discipline. We gire 
our pupils and students artisan-inspira^ 
ticai and business-spirituality. Ori^nal- - 
ity is suppressed. Individuality is crushed. ' 
Mediocrity is at a premiiun. That is why 
our country has such clever business men, 
such cunning artisans, such resourceful 
politicians^ such adroit leaders of new 
cults, but no scientists, no artists, no 
philosophers, no statesmen, no genuine 
talent and no true genius. 

School-teachers have in all ages been 
mediocre in intellect and incompetent. 
Leibnitz is regarded as a dullard and 
Newton is considered as a blockhead. 
Never, however, in the history of mankind 
have school teachers fallen to such a low 
level of mediocrity as in our times and in 
our country. For it is not the amount of 

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knowledge that counts in true education, 
but originality and independence of 
thought that are of importance in educa^ . 
tion. But independ^ice and originality 
of thought are just the very elements that 
are suppressed by our modem barrack- 
system of education. !No wonder that 
military men claim that the best "educa- 
tion" is given in military schools. 

We are not aware that the incubus of 
officialdom, and the succubtu of bureau- 
cracy have taken possession of our schools. 
The red tape of officialdom, like a poison- 
ous weed, grows luxuriantly in oxu* schools 
and chokes the life of our yoxmg genera- 
tion. Instead of growing into a people 
ef great independent thinkers, the nation 
is in danger of fast becoming a crowd of 
well-drilled, well-discipHned, commonplace 
individuals, with strong philistine habits 
and notions of hopeless mediocrity. 

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In levelling education to mediocrity we 
imagine that we uphold the democratic 
spirit of our institutions. Our American 
sensibilities are shocked when the presi- 
dent of one of our leading colleges dares 
to recommend to his college that it should 
cease catering to the average student. 
We think it un-American, rank treason 
to our democratic spirit when a college 
president has the courage to proclaim the 
principle that "To form the mind and 
character of one man of marked talent, 
not to say genius, would be worth more to 
the community which he would serve than 
the routine training of hundreds of un- 

We are optimistic, we believe in the 
pernicious superstition that genius needs 
no help, that talent will take care of it- 
self. Our kitchen clocks and dollar time- 
pieces need careful handling, but our 

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chronometers and astronomical clocks can 
run by themselves. 

The truth is, however, tliat the purpose 
of the school and the college is not to cre- 
ate an intellectual aristocracy, but to edu- 
cate, to bring out the individuality, the 
originality, the latent powers of talent 
and genius present in what we unfortu- 
nately regard as "the average student." 
Follow Mill's advice. Instead of aiming 
at athletics, social connections, vocations 
and generally at the professional art of 
money-making, "Aim at something noble. 
Make your system such that a great man 
may be formed by it, and there will be a 
manhood in your little men, of which you 
do not dream." 

Awaken in early childhood the crit- 
ical spirit of man; awaken, early in 
the child's life, love of knowledge, love 
of truth, of art and literature for their 



Vown sake, and you arouse man's genius. 
We have average mediocre students, be- 
cause we have mediocre teachers, depart- 
ment-store superintendents, clerkly prin- 
cipals and deans with bookkeepers' souls, 
because our schools and colleges deliber- 
ately aim at mediocrity. 

Ribot in describing the degenerated 
Byzantine Greeks tells us that their lead- 
ers were mediocrities and their great 
men commonplace personalities. Is the 
American nation drifting in the same di- 
rection? It was the system of cultiva- 
tion of independent thought that awak- 
ened the Greek mind to its highest achieve- 
ments in arts, sdence and philosophy; it 
was the deadly Byzantine bureaucratic 
red tape with its cut-and-dried theological 
discipline that dried up the sources of 
Greek genius. We are in danger of 
building up a Byzantine empire with large 



institutions and big corporations, but 
with "smatW minds and dwarfed individuali- 
ties. Like the Byzantines we begin to 
value admimstration above individuality 
and official^ red-tape ceremonialism above 

We wish even to turn our schools into 
practical school-shops. We shall in time 
become a nation of well-trained clerks and 
clever artisans. The time is at hand when 
we shall be justified in writing over the 
gates of our school-shops "mediocrity 
made herel" 

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I ASSUME that as liberal men and women 
you have no use for the process of cram- 
ming and stuffing of college-geese and 
mentally indolent, morally obtuse and 
religiously "cultured" prigs and philis- 
tines, but that you realize that your true 
vocation is to get access to the latent ener- 
gies of your children, to stimulate their re- 
serve energies and educate, bring to light, 
man's genius. The science of psychopatii- 
ology now sets forth a fundamental prin- 
ciple which is not only of the utmost im- 
portance in psychotherapeutics, but also 
in the domain of education; it is the prin- 
ciple of stored up, dormant, reserve- 
energy, — the principle of potential, sub- 
conscious, reserve energjy. 



It is claimed on good evidence, biolog- 
ical, physiological and psychopathological, 
that man possesses large stores of unused 
energy which the ordinary stimuli of life 
^ are not only unable to reach, but even 
tend to inhibit. Unusual combinations of 
drcumstances, however, radical changes 
of the environment, often unloose the in- 
hibitions brought about by the habitual 
narrow range of man's interests and sur- 
roundings. Such unloosening of inhibi- 
tions helps to release fresh supplies of re- 
serve energy. It is not the place here to 
discuss this fundamental principle; I can 
only state it in the most general way, and 
give its general trend in the domain of 

You have heard the psycholo^zing ed- 
ucator advise the formation of good, fixed, 
stable habits in early life. Now I want 
to warn you against the dangers of such 

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unrestricted advice. Fixed adaptation^ 
stable habits, tend to raise the thresholds 
of mental life, tend to inhibit the libera- 
tion, the output of reserve-energy. 
Avoid routine. Do not let your pupils 
fall into the ruts of habits and customs, 
Do not let even the be*t of habits harden 
beyond the point of further possible modi- 

Where there is a tendency towards 
formation of over-abundant mental car- 
tilage, set your pupils to work under 
widely different circumstances. Con- 
front them with a changed set of condi- 
tions. Keep them on the move. Sur- 
prise them by some apparently paradoxi- 
cal relations and strange phenomena. 
Do not let them settle down to one definite 
set of actions or reactions. Remember 
that rigidity, like sclerosis, induration of 
tissue, means decay of origin^ty, destruc- 



tion of man's genius. Willi solidified and 
unrariable habits not only does the re- 
serre energy become entirdy inaccessible^ 
but the very individuality is extinguished. 

Do not make of our diildren a nation of 
phiUstines. Why say, you make man in 
your own image? Do not make your 
schools machine-shops, turning out on one 
uniform pattern so much mediocrity per 
year. Cultivate variability. The tend- 
ency towards variability is the most pre- 
cious part of a good education. Beware 
of ttie philistine with his set, stable habits. 

The important principle in education is 
not so much formation of habits as the 
power of their re-formation. The power 
of breaking up habits is by far the more 
essential factor of a good education. It 
is in this power of breaking down habits 
that we can find the key for the unlock- 
ing of the otherwise inaccessible stores of 

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subconscious reserve energy. The culti- \ 
vation of the power of haint-dmntegrar \ 
tion ia what constitutes the proper educa- \ 
tion of man's genius.* 

*A well known editor of one of the academic Jonmali 
on Educational P^diology writes to me ns follows: 

**¥oai remarks on the avoidance of routine would 
be like a red rag to a bull for a number of ediic»- 
tora wbo are empbasiiing the importance of habit for- 
mation in education at present." 


The power of breaking down or dissolv- 
ing habits depends on the amount and 
strength of the aqiia fortia of the inteUect. 
The logical and critical activities of tiie 
individual should be cultivated with spe- 
cial care. The critical self, as we may 
put it, should have control over the auto- 
matic and the subconscious. For the sub- 
conscious has been shown to form the 
fertile soil for the breeding of the most 
dangerous germs of ment^ disease, epi- 
demics, plagues and pestilences in their 
worst forms. We should try to develop 
the individual's critical abilities in early 
childhood, not permitting the suggestible 
subconsciousness to predominate, and to 



become overrun mth noxious weeds and 

We should be very careful vritb the 
child's critical self, as it is weak and has 
little resistance. We should, therefore, 
avoid all dominating authority and cate- 
gorical imperative commands. Automatic 
authority cultivates in the child the predis- 
position to abnormal suggestibility, to 
hypnotic states, and leads towards the 
dominance of the subconscious with its 
train of pernicious tendencies and delete- 
rious results. 

There is a period in the child's life 
between the ages of five and ten when 
he is very inquisitive, asking all kinds 
of questions. It is the age of ditau- 
sion in the child. This inquisitiveness 
and discussion shoiild by all means be en- 
couraged and fostered. We should aid 
the development of the spirit of inquisi- 



tiveness and curiosity in tlie child. For 
this is the acquisition of control over tiie 
stored-up, latent energies of man's genius. 

We should not arrest the child's ques- 
tioning spirit, as we are often apt to do, 
but should strongly encourage the appar- 
ently meddlesome and troublesome search- 
ing and prying and scrutinizing of lohat- 
ever interests the child. Everything 
should be open to the child's searching in- 
terest ; nothing should be suppressed and 
tabooed as too sacred for examination. 
The spirit of inquiry, the genius of man, 
is more sacred than any abstract belief, 
dogma and creed. 

A rabbi came to ask my advice about 
the education of his little boy. My ad- 
vice was: "Teach him not to be a Jew." 
The man of God departed and never came 
again. The rabbi did not care for edu- 
cation, but for faith. He did not wish 



his boy to become a man, but to be a Jew. 
The most central, the most crucial part 
of the education of man's genius is the 
knowledge, the recognition of evU in all 
its protean fonns and innumerable dis- 

' guises, intellectual, aesthetic and moral, 
sudi as fallacies, sophisms, ugliness, de- 

^ formity, prejudice, superstition, vice and 
deprarity. Do not be afraid to discuss 
these matters with the child. For the 
knowledge, the recognition of evil does 
not only possess the virtue of immuniza- 
tion of the child's mind against aXL evil, 
but furnishes the main power for habit- 
disintegration with consequent release and 
control of potential reserve energy, of 
manifestations of human genius. When 
a man becomes contented and ceases to 
notice the evils of life, as is done by some 
modem rehgious sects, lie loses his hold on 
the powers of man's genius, he loses touch 



"with the throbbing pulse of humanity, he 
loses hold on reality and falls into sub- 
human groups. 

The piirpose of education, of a Uberdl 
education, is not to live in a fool's paradise, 
or to go through the w(»-ld in a post-hyp- 
notic state of negative hallucinations. 
The true aim of a liberal education is, as 
the Scriptures put it, to have the eyes 
.opened, — ^to be free from all delusions, 
Illusions, from the fata morgana of Ufe. 
We prize a liberal education, because it 
Uberatea us from subjection to supersti- 
tious fears, delivers us from the narrow 
bonds of prejudice, from the exalted or 
depressing delusions of moral paresis, in- 
tellectual dementia-praecox, and religious 
paranoia. A liberal education liberate 
us from the enslavement to the degrading 
influence of(aZ2 idol-worship. 
-In the education of man do not play on 



his subconscious sense by deluding hiitt by 
means of hypnotic and post-hypnotic sug- 
gestions of positive and negatire hallu- 
cinations, with misty and mystic, beatific 
visions. Open his eyes to undisguised re- 
ality. Teach him, show him how to strip 
the real from its unessential wrappings 
and adornments and see things in their 

dxoLMi-JJuit ihev shall see, un dersta nd 

Then will you do your duty as parents, 
then will you give your diildien the 
proper education. 

|/Vi7/ it ill* (K ,-'. 



I HATE spoken of the fundamental law 
of early education. The question is "how 
early?" There are, of course, children 
who are backward in their development. 
This backwardness may either be congen- 
ital or may be due to some, overlooked 
pathological condition that may be easily 
remedied by proper treatment. In the 
large majority of children, however, the 
beginning of education is between the 
second and third year. It is at that time 
that the child begins to form his interests. 
It is at tJiat critical period that we have 
to' seize the opportimity to guide the 
child's formative energies in the right 
channels. To delay is a mistake and a 



wrong to the child. We can at that early 
period awaken a lore of knowledge which 
' will persist through Ufe. The child will 
as eagerly play in the game of knowledge . 
as he now spends the most of his energies 
in meaningless games and ohjectless silly 
sports. 1^^., (J V-.t s" :■.■' •■■'■.'I <{f i(^!^-iny, 

We claim we are afraid to force the ^ 
child's mind. We claim we are afraid 
to strrni his brain prematurely. This is 
an error. In directing the course of the 
use of the child's energies we do not force 
the child. If you do not direct the ener- . 
gies in thek^ght course; the child wiU { 
voaate them in the wrong direction. The 
same amount of mental energy used la 
^hose sHly games, which we think are spe- 
cially adapted for the childish mind, can 
h^ directed* with lasting benefit, to the de- 
velopment lof his interests in intellectual 

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activity and love of knowledge. The 
child will learn to play at the game of 
knowledge-acquisition with the same ease, 
grace and interest as he is showing now in 
his nursery-games and<^ysical exerasesO 

60O.j'plvMC| f ft ' fV r \ f. \- ■ :' ■' 

^^■i^\:'-\ \ llM^I 


n \ 

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Abistotu laid it down as a self-evident 
proposition that all Helloies love knorcU 
' edge. This was true of the national gen- 
ius of the ancient Greeks. The love of wis- 
dom is the pride of the ancient Greek in 
contradistinction to the harharian, who 
does not prize knowledge. We still he- 
long to the harbarians. Our children, our 
pupils, our students have no love of knowl- 

The andent Greeks knew the value of 
a good education and imderstood its 
fundamental elements. They laid g^reat 
stress on early education and they knew 
how to develop man's mental energies, 
without fear of injury to the hrain and 



physical constitution. The Greeks were 
not afraid of thought, that it might in- 
jure the brain. They were strong men* 
great thinkers. 

The lore of knowledge, the love of truth 
for its own sake, is entirely neglected in 
our modem schemes of education. In- 
stead of training men we train mechanics, 
artisans and sfaopkeepei^. We turn our 
national schools, high schools and univer- 
sities into trade-schools and machine-shops. 
The school, whether lower or higher, has 
now one purpose in view, and that is the 
training of the pupil in the art of money- 
making. Is it a wonder that the result 
' isalowformof mediocrity, a dwarfed and 
crippled specimen of humanity? 

Open the reports of our school superin- 
tendents and you find that the illustrations 
setting forth the prominent work per- 
formed by the school represent carpentry. 

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shoemaking, blacksmithing, bookkeeping, 
typewriting, dressmaking, millinery and 
cookery. One wonders whether it is the 
report of a factory inspector, the "scien- 
tific" advertisement of some instrument- 
maker of machine-shop, a booklet of some 
popular hotel, or an extensive circular of 
some large department-store. Is this 
what our modem education consists in? 
Is the aim of the nation to form at its ex- 
pense vast reserve armies of skilled me- 
chanics, great numbers of well-trained 
cooks and well-behaved clerks? Is the 
purpose of the nation to form cheap 
skilled labor for the manufacturer, or is 
the aim of society to form intelligent, edu- 
cated citizens? 

The high-sdiool and college courses 
advised by the professors and elected by 
the student are with reference to the voca- 
tion in life, to business and to trade. Our 



schools, our high schools, our colleges and 
our universities are all animated with the 
same sordid aim of ^ving electives for 
eu'ly specialization in the art of money- 
'' getting. We may say with Mill that our 
schools and colleges give no true educa- 
tion, no true culture. We drift to the 
status of Egypt and India with their 
castes of early trained mechanics, profes- 
sionals and shopkeepers. Truly educated 
men we shall have none. We shall be- 
come a nation of narrow-minded philis- 
tines, well contented with their mediocrity. 
The savage compresses the skull of the in- 
fant, while we flatten the brain and cramp 
the mind of our young generation. 



The great thinker, John Stuart MQl, 
insists that **the great business of every 
rational being is the strengtheiung and 
\ enlarging of his otto intellect and charac- 
ter. The empiricfd knowledge which the 
world demands, which is the stock in trade 
of money-getting, we would leave the 
world to provide tor itself.'* We must 
make our system of education sucb "that 
a great man may be formed by it, and 
there will be a manhood in your little men 
of which you do not dream. We must 
have a system of education capable of 
forming great minds." Education must 
aim at the bringing out of the genius in 
man. Do we acMeve such aim by the 

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'formation of phillstine-specialists and 
young petty-minded artisans? 

"The very cornerstone of an educa- 
tion," Mill tells us, "intended to form 
great minds, must be the recognition of 
the principle, that the object is to call 
forth the greatest possible quantity of jn- 
. tellectual power, and to inspire the intens- 
est Iffoe of truth; and this mthout a par- 
ticle of regard to the remits to which the 
eccerwe of that power may lead."y With 
us the only lore of truth is the one that 
leads to the shop, the bank and the count- 

The home controls the school and the 
college. As long as the home is domi- 
nated by commercid ideals, the school will 
turn out mediocre tradesmen. 

This, however, is one of the character- 
istic types of the American home: the 
. mother tliinfcs of dresses, fashions and par- 



ties. The daughter twangs and thrums 
on the piano, makes violent attempts at 
sing^g that sound as "the crackling of 
thorns under a pot," is passionately fond 
of shopping, dressing and visiting. Both, 
mother and daughter, love society, show 
and gossip. The father works in some 
business or at some trade and loves sports 
and games. Not a spark of refine ment 
«uiu culture, not a redeeming ray of love 
of knowledge and of art, lighting up the 
commonplace and frivolous life of the 
family. What wonder that the children 
of ten and eleven can hardly read and. 
write, are little brutes and waste away 
their predous life of childhood in the close, 
dusty, overheated rooms of the early 
grades of some elementary school? Com- 
mercial mediocrity is raised at home and 
cultivated in the schooL 

"As a means of educating the many. 

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tbe uniTenities are absolutely null," ex- 
claims Mill. The attainments of any 
kind required for taking all the de- 
grees conferred by these bodies are, at 
Cambridge, utterly contemptible." Our 
American schools, with their ideals of 
money-earning capacities, our colleges 
glorying in their athletics, football teams 
and courses for profession^ and business 
specializations would have been regarded 
by Mill as below contempt. 

What indeed is the. worth of an educa- 
tion that does not create even as much as 
an ordinary respect for learning and love 
of truth, and that prizes knowledge in 
terms of hard cash? What is the educa- 
tional worth of a college or of a university 
which suppresses its most gifted students 
by putting them under the ban of disor- 
derly behavior, because of not conforming 
to commonplace mannerisms? What is 

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the educational value of a univeraity whidi 
is but a modem edition of a gladiatorld 
school with a smattering of the humani- 
ties f What is the educational value of an 
institution of learning that expels its best 
students because they "attract more at- 
tention than their professors"? What is 
the intellectual level of a college that 
expels from its courses the ablest of its 
students for some slight infringement, and 
that an involuntary one* under the pre- 
text that it is done for the sake of class- 
disdplin^ "for the general good of the 
dass"? What travesty on education is a 
system that suppresses genius in the inter- 
est of mediocrity? What is the cultural, 
the humanistic value of an education that 
puts a prize on mediocrity? 

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Discipline, fixed habits approved by the 
pedagogue are specially enforced in otir 
schools. To this may be added some 
"culture" in the art of money-getting in 
the case of the hoys, while in the case of 
girls the lesthetic training of millinery 
and dressmaking may be included. The' 
colleges, in addition to class-discipline 
looked after by the professors and col- 
lege-authorities, are essentially an organi- 
zation of hasty-pudding clubs, football 
associations and athletic corporations. 
What is the use of a college if not for its 
games? Many regard the college as use- 
^ ful for the formation of business acquaint- 
ances in later life. Others again consider 

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the college a good place for learning fine 
manners. In other words, the college and 
the school are for athletics, good manners, 
business companionship, mechuiicel arts 
and money-getting. They are for any- 
thing but education. 

We have become so used to college ath- 
letics that it appears struige and possibly 
absurd to demand of a college the culti- 
vation of man's genius. Who expects to 
find an intellectual atmosphere among the 
great body of our college undergraduates? 
Wbo expects of our schools and colleges 
true culture and the cultivation of a taste 
for literature, art and science? A dean, 
an unusually able man, of one of the 
prominent Eastern colleges tells me that 
fae and his friends are very pessimistic 
about his students and especially about the 
great body of undergraduate students. 
Literature, art, science have no interest 

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Efor the student; games and athletics fQl 
his mental horizon. 

In the training of our children, in the 
education of our young, we think that 
discipline^ obedience to paternal and ma- 
ternal commands, whether rational or ab- 
surd, are of the utmost importance. We 
do not realize that in such a scheme of 
training we fail to cultivate the child's 
critical faculties, but only succeed in sup- 
pressing the child's individuality. We 
only break his will-power and originality. 
We also prepare the ground for future 
nervous and mental maladies character- 
ized fay their fears, indecisions, hesitations, 
diffidence, irritability, lack of individu- 
ality and absence of self-control. 

We laugh at the Chinese, because they 
bandage the feet of their girls, we ridicule 
those who cripple their chest and mutilate 
their figure by the tight lacing of their cor- 

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seta^ but we fail to realize the baneful ef- 
fects of submitting the young minds to the 
grindstone of our education^ discipline. 
I have known good fathers and mothers 
who have unfortunately been so imbued 
with the necessity of disciplining the child 
that they have crushed the child's spirit in 
the narrow bonds of routine and custom. 
How can we expect to get great men and 
women when from infancy we train our 
children to conform to the philistine ways 
of Mrs. Grundy? 

In our schools and colleges, habits, dis- 
cipline and behavior are spedally empha- 
sized by our teachers, instructors and pro- 
fessors. Our deans and professors think 
more of red tape, of "points," of discipline 
than of study; they think more of auth^- 
itative suggestion than of critical in- 
struction. The pedagogue fashions the 
pupil after his own image. The pro- 



lessor, with his disciplmarian tactics, 
forces the student into the imhedle mum- 
my-like mannerism of Egyptian pedantry 
and into the barrack-regulations of class- 
etiquette. Well may professors of our 
"war-schools" claim that the best educa- 
tion is given in military academies. IDhey 
are right, if discipline is education. But 
X why not the reformatory, the asylum and 
the prison? 

We trust our unfortunate youth to the 
Procrustean bed of the mentally obtuse, 
hide-bound pedagogue. We desiccate, 
sterilize, petrify and embalm our youth in 
keeping with the rules of our Egyptian 
code and in accordance with the Confucian 
regulations of our school-clerks and col- 
lege mandarins. Our children learn by 
rote and are guided by routine. ' 

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Beino in a barbuic stage, we are afraid 
of thought. We are under the errone- 
ous belief that thinking, study, causes 
nervousness and mental disorders. In my 
practice as phy^cian in nervous and men- 
tal diseases, I can say without hesitation 
that I have not met a single case of nerv- 
ous or mental trouble caused by too 
much thinking or overstudy. rThis is at 
present the opinion of the best psycho- 
pathologists. What produces nervous- 
ness is worry, emotiontd excitement and 
lack of Interest in the work. But that 
is precisely what we do with our children. 
We do not take care to develop a love of 
knowledge in their early life for fear of 
iiriun injury, and then when it is late to 

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acquire the interest, we force them to study, 
and we cram them and feed them and stuff 
^ them like geese. What you often get \a 
'fatty degeneratjon of the mental liver. 
If, however, you do not neglect the 
child between the second and third year, 
and see to it that the brain should not be 
stiored, should have its proper function, 
like the rest of the bodily organs, by de- 
veloping an interest in intellectual activ- 
ity and love of knowledge, no forcing of 
the child to study is afterwards requisite. 
The child will go on by bimsdf, — he 
will derive intense enjoyment from his 
intellectual activity, as he does from his 
games and physical exerdse. The child 
will be stronger, healthier, sturdier than 
the present average child, with its purely 
animal activities and total neglect of brain- 
function. His physical and mental de- 
velopment will go apace. He will not be 

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a barbarian with animal prodivittes and a 
strong distaste for knowledge and mentid 
enjoyment, but he will be a strong, 
healthy, thinking man. 

Besides, many a mental trouble vrill be 
preroited in adult-life. The child will 
acquire knowledge with the isame ease as 
he learns to ride the bicycle or play ball. 
By the toith year, without almost any ef • 
fort, tlie child will acquire the knowledge 
which at present the best college-graduate 
obtains with infinite labor and pun. 
That this can be accomplished I can say 
with authority; I know it as a fact from 
my own experience with child-life. 

From an economical standpoint aloD^ 
think of the saving it would ensure for 
society. Consider the fact that our chil- 
dren spend nearly eight years in the com- 
mon school, studying spelling and arith- 
metic, and do not know them when they 
graduate! Think of the eight years of 

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waste of school buildings and salaries for 
the teaching force. However, our real 
object is not economy, but the develop- 
ment of a strong, healthy, great race of 

As fathers and mothers it may interest 
you to learn of qpe of those boys who wt yg 
brou^t up in the love and enjoyment of 
knowledge for its own sake. At the age 
of twelve, when other children of his age 
are hardly able to read and spell, and drag 
a miserable mental existoice at the apron 
strings of some antiquated school-dame, 
the boy is intensely wijoying courses in 
the highest branches of mathematics and 
astronomy at one of our foremost univer- 
dties. The Iliad and the Odyss^ are 
known to him by heart, and he is deeply 
interested in the advanced work of Classi- 
cal FhUology. He is able to read He- 
rodotus, ^schylus, Sophocles, Euripides, 
Aristophanes, Lucian and other Greek 

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writers with the same zest and ease as our 
schoolboy reads his Robinson Crusoe or 
the productions of Cooper and Hoity. 
The hoy has a fair understanding of Com- 
parative Philology and Mythology. He 
is well versed in Logic, Ancient History. 
American History and has a genertd in- 
sist into our politics and into the ground- 
work of our Constitution. At the same 
time he is of an extremely happy disposi- 
tion, brimming over with humor and fun. 
His physical condition is splendid, his 
cheeks glow -with health. Many a ^1 
would envy his complexion. Being above 
five feet four he towers above the average 
boy of bis age. His physical constitution, 
weight, form and hardihood of organs, far 
surpasses that of the ordinary schoolboy. 
He looks hke a boy of sixteen. He is 
healthy, strong and sturdy. 

The philistine-pseudagogues, the self- 
oontented school-autocrats are so imbued 



viith the fear of intellectual activity and 
with the superstitious dread of early men- 
tal education, they are so obsessed with 
the niOTbid phobia of human reflective 
powers, they are so deluded by the belief 
that study causes disease that they ea^rly 
adhere to the delusion, to quote from a 
school-superintendent's letter, about the 
boy being "in a sanitarium, old and worn- 
out." No doubt, the cramming, the rou- 
tine, the rote, the mental and moral tyr- 
anny of the principal and school-superin- 
tendent do tend to nervous degeneracy 
and mental break-down. Poor old col- 
lege owls, academic bam-yard-fowls and 
worn-out sickly school-bats, you are panic- 
stricken by the power of sunlight, you are 
in agonizing, in mortal terror of critical, 
reflective thought, you dread and suppress 
the genius of the young. 
We do not appreciate the genius har- 

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bored in the average child, and we let it 
lie fallow. We are mentally poor, not 
because we lack riches, but because we do 
not know bow to use tiie wealth of nunes. 
the hidden treasures, the now inaccessible 
mental powers which we possess. 

In speaking of our mental capadties, 
Frands Galton, I think, says that we are 
in relation to the ancient Greeks what tbe 
Bushmen and Hottentots are in relation to 
us. Galton and many other learned men 
regard the modem European races as inf e- 
rior to the Hellenic race. They are wrcmg, 
and I know from experience that tbey are 
wrong. It rests in our hands dther to 
remain inferior barbarians or to rival and 
even surpass in brilliancy the genius of 
the ancient Hellenes. We- can devdop 
into a great race by the proper education 
of man's genius. 

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One other important point claims our 
attention in the process of education of 
man's genius. We must immunize our 
diildren against mental microbes, as we 
vaccinate our babies against small-pox. 
The cultivation of criticed judgment and 
the knowledge of evU are two powerful 
constituents that form the antitoain for 
the neutralization of the virulent toxins 
produced by mental irucrobes. At the 
same time we should not neglect proper 
conditions of mental hygiene. We should 
not people the child's mind with ghost- 
atoriea, with absurd beliefs in the super- 
natural, and with articles of creed charged 
with brimstone and pitch from the bowels 
of helL We mutt guard the child against 

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aU evil feart, guperstitions, prejudices and 

' credulity. 

We should counteract the ban^ul in- 
fluences of the pathogenic, pestiferous, 
mental microbes which now infest our 
social air, since the child, not having yet 
formed the antitoxin of critical judgment 
and knowledge of evil, has not the power 
of resisting mental infection, and is thus 
very susceptible to mental contagion on 
account of his extrone suggestibility. 

' The cultivation of credulity, the absence 
of critical judgment and of recognition 
of evil, with consequent increase of sug- 
gestibility, make man an easy prey to 
all kinds of social delusions, mental epi- 
demics, religious crazes, financial manias, 
and political plagues, which have been the 
baleful pest of aggregate humanity in all 
The immunization of children, the de- 



Telopment of resistance to mental germs 
whether moral, imrCtoral or religious, can 
only be effected by the medical man with 
a psychological and psychopathological 
training. Just as science, philosophy and 
^ have gradually passed out of the con- 
trol of the priest, so now we find that the 
control of mental and mora] life is grad- 
ually passing away from under the influ- 
ence of the church into the hands of the 
medic^ psychopathologist. 

The physical life of the nation is now 
gradually being regulated by medical sd- 
ence with a consequent decrease of disease 
and mortality. Gradually and slowly the 
sdiool begins to feel the need of medical 
advice, both as to the health of the pupils 
and their more ^cioit training. Gradu- 
ally the medical man assumes the respon- 
sibility of guiding the teacher and telling 
him why the pupils are defective in their 

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studies and why the pedantic methods of 
academic pedagogy are arid and sterile. 
In some cases the doctor actually under* 
takes the training of the young. Thus 
the Italian doctor* Maria Montessori, 
from the education of defectire children 
has finally undertaken, with immense, al- 
most phentunenal, success, the training 
and education of normal children. 

As we look forward into the future 
we begin to see that the sdiool u com- 
ing under the control of the medical 
man. The medical man free from super- 
stitions and prejudices, possessed of the 
sdence of mind and body, is to assume 
in the future the supervision of the educa- 
tion of the nation. 

The schoolmaster and the sdnmlma'am 
with their narrow-minded, pedantic pseu- 
dogogics are gradually losing prestige 
and passing away, while the medical man 



alone is able to coptf^th the serious 
threatening danger of national mental 
degeneration. Just as the medical pro- 
fession now saves the nation from physi- 
cal degeneration and works for the physi- 
cal regeneration of the body-politic, so 
vill the medical profession of the fu- 
ture assume the duty of saving the nation 
from mental and moral decline, from de- 
generation into a people of fear-pos- 
sessed, mind-racked psychopathies and 
neurotics, with broken wills and crushed 
individualities on the one hand, accompan- 
ied, on the other hand, by the still worse 
affliction and incurable malady of a self- 
contented mediocrity and a hopeless, Chi- 
nese Philistinism. 
There are in the United States about 
^^ two hundred thousand insane, while the 
victims of psychopathic, mental maladies 
may be coimted by the millions. Insan- 



ity can be greatly alleriated, but much, 
if not alli of that psychopathic mental 
misery known as functional mental dis- 
ease is oitiiely preventable. It is the 
result of our pitiful, wretched, brain- 
starring, mind-crippling methods of edu- 



In my work of mentAl and nervous dis- 
eases I become more and more convinced 
of the preponderant influence of early 
childhood in the causation of psychopathic 
mental maladies. Most, in fact aU, of 
thote functional mental diseases originate 
in early childhood. A couple of cono«te 
cases will perhaps best illustrate my point: 
The patient is a young man of 26. He 
suffers from intoise melancholic depres- 
sion, often amounting to agony. He is 
possessed by the fear of having committed 
the unpardonable sin. He thinks that he 
is damned to suffer tortures in hell for all 
eternity. I cannot go here into the de- 
tails of the case, but an examination of 



the patient by the hypnoidal state dearly 
1a*aced his present condition to the influ- 
ence of an old woman, a Sunday school 
teacher, who infected him with those vir- 
ulent germs in his very early diildhood, 
about the age of five. Let me read to you 
a paragraph from the patient's own ac- 
count: "It is difficult to place the begin- 
ning of my abnormal fear. It certainly 
originated from doctrine! of hell which I 
heard in early childhood, particularly from 
a rather ignorant elderly woman, who 
taught Sunday schooL My early reli- 
gious thought was chiefly concerned with 
the direful eternity of torture that might 
be awaiting me, if I was not good enough 
to be saved." 

Another patient of mine, a clergyman's 
wife, was extremely nervous, depressed, 
and suffered from insomnia, from night- 
mares, from panophobia, general fear. 



9read of the unknown, from claustro- 
phobia^ fear of remaining alone, fear of 
darkness and numerous other fears and 
insistent ideas, into the details of which I 
cannot go here. By means of the hypnoi- 
del state the symptoms "were traced to 
impressions of early childhood; when at 
the age of five, the patient was suddenly 
confronted by a maniactd woman. The 
child waa greatly frightened, and since 
that time she became possessed by the fear 
of insanity. When the patient gave birth 
to her child, she was afraid the child would 
become insane; many a time she even had 
a feeling that the child was insane. Thus 
the fear of insanity is traced to an expe- 
rience of early childhood, an experience 
which, having become subconscious, is 
manifesting itself persistently in the pa- 
tient's consciousness. 
The patient's parents were very 

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gious, and the child was brought up not 
only in the fear of God, but also in the 
fear of hell and the deviL Being sensi- 
tive and imagiuatiTe, the devils of the 
gotspel were to her stem realities. She 
had a firm belief in "diabolical posses- 
sions" and "unclean spirits"; the legend 
of Jesus exorcising in the country of the 
Gadarenes unclean spirits, whose name 
is Legi(Xi, was to her a tangible reiJity. 
She was brought up on brimstone and 
pitchi with everlasting fires of the "bot- 
tomless pit" for sinners and unbelievers. 
In the hypnoidal state she clearly remem- 
bered the preacher, who used every Sun- 
day to give her the horrors by his pictur- 
esque descriptions of the tortures of the 
"bottomless pit." She was in anguish 
over the unsolved question: "Do little 
sinner-girls go to hell?" This fear of hell 

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PHILISTilJE *ANi)' GfeNIUS' " ' 101 

made the little girl feel depressed and 
miserable and poisoned many a cheerful 
moment of her life. 

What a lasting effect and what a mel- 
ancholy gloom this fear of ghosts and of 
unclean spirits of the bottomless pit pro- 
duced on this young life may be judged 
from the following facts; When the pa- 
tient was about eleven years old, a young 
girl, a friend of hers, having noticed the 
patient's fear of ghosts, played on her one 
of those silly, practical jokes, the effect 
of which on sensitive natures is often 
disastrous and lasting. The girl dis- 
guised herself as a ghost, in a white sheet, 
and appeared to the patient, who was just 
on the point of falling asleep. Tl 
shrieked in terror and fainted, 
that time the patient suffered from 
mares and was mortally afraid ti 

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alone; she passed many a night in a state 
of exdtement, frenzied with the fear of 
apparitioDli and ghosts. 

When about the age of sermteen, she 
apparently freed herself from the belief 
in ghosts and unclean powers. But the 
fear acquired in her childhood did not 
lapse; it persisted subconsciously and 
manifested itself in the form of uncon- 
trollable fears. She was afraid to remain 
alone in a room, especially in the evening. 
Thiu, once when she had to go upstairs 
alone to pack her trunks, a gauzy garment 
called forth the experience of her ghost- 
fright; she had the illusion of seeing a 
ghost, and fell fainting to the floor. Un- 
less specially treated, fears acquired in 
diildhood last through life. 

"Every ugly thing," says Mosso, the 
great Italian physiologist, "told to the 
diild, every shock, every fright given him. 



will remain like minute splinters in tbe 
flesh, to tortxire him all his life long. 

"An old soldier whom I asked what his 
greatest fears had been, answered me 
thus: 'I have only had one, but it pur- 
sues me stilL I am nearly seventy years 
cdd, I hare looked death in the face I do 
not know how many times; I have never 
lost heart in any danger, but when I pass 
a little old churdi in the shades of the 
forest, or a desnied chapel in the moun- 
tains, I always remember a neglected ora- 
tory in my native village, and I shiver and 
look around, as though seeking the corpse 
of a murdered man which I once )saw car- 
ried into it when a child, and with which 
an old servant wanted to shut me up to 
make me good.* " Here, too, experiences 
of early childhood have persisted subcon- 
sciously throug^ut lifetime. 

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X APPEAL to you, fathers and mothers, 
and to you, liberal-minded readers, asking 
you to turn your attention to the educa- 
tion of your childroi, to the training of 
the young generation of future citizens. 
I do not appeal to oiu* official educators, 
to oiu* scientific, psychological pseuda- 
gogues, to the clerks of our teaching shops, 
—for they are beyond all hope. From 
that quarter I expect nothing but attacks 
and abuse. We cannot possibly expect 
of the philistine-educator luid mandarin- 
pseudagogue the adoption of different 
views of education. We should not keep 
new wine in old goat-sldns. The present 
school-isystem squanders the resources of 
the country and wastes the energies, the 
lives of our children. Like Cato our ay 

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shoxild be Carthago delenda eat, — ^the 
school-system should be abolished and 
with it should go the present psychologi- 
ang educator, the schoolmaster and the 

Fathers and mothers, you keep in your 
hands the fate of the young generation. 
You are conscious of the great responsi- 
bility, of the vast, important task la 
you by the education of your cl 
For, according to the character 
training and education given to the 
they may be made a sickly host of ] 
wrecks and miserable wretches; i 
may be farmed into a narrow-i 
bigoted, mediocre crowd of self-co; 
"cultured" Philistines, bat-bhnd to 
they may be made a great race of 
with powers of rational control ( 
latent, potential, reserve energy 
choice remains with you. 



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